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Saturday 11 April 2015

Homophobia rife among Aussie teens

Posted in: International News
By Daily News staff - 31st March 2015

A new study shows Australian teenage boys are engaging in homophobia at an “alarming” rate, harming the mental health of lgbti youth and placing them at risk of suicide.


The findings show a third of teenage boys wouldn’t be happy to have a same-sex attracted person in their friendship group and a quarter think it’s ok to describe something they don’t like as “gay”.

Australian depression and anxiety awareness not profit beyondblue has released the figures as it launches a national campaign again to end lgbti discrimination among teenagers and young men.

It features a cinema ad in which a group of boys bully a left-handed teenager, calling him a “freak”, to highlight the absurdity of discriminating against people just for being themselves.

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman says it wasn’t long ago that left-handed people were routinely discriminated against, told there was something wrong with them and forced to write with their right-hand.

“Thankfully that no longer happens. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the discrimination faced by lgbti people, who are still made to feel like crap just for being themselves.

“Research shows young males hold more homophobic attitudes than the general public and this latest study shows that, no matter what other gains have been made for lgbti people, homophobia remains common among teenage boys. This is particularly concerning given young lgbti people are already three to six times more likely to be distressed than their straight peers.

“If we want to reduce their distress, we must reduce the discrimination they face. We know that high levels of distress have a strong link to depression, anxiety and suicide.”

The study of more than 300 14-17 year-old males conducted by global marketing company TNS found:

- One in five said they find it hard to treat same-sex attracted people the same as others.

- Six in 10 said they had witnessed first-hand people being bullied for their sexuality and four in 10 said they had seen people bullied for the same reason on social media.

- A quarter said terms such as “homo”, “dyke” and “confused” are “not really that bad”.

- Four in 10 either agreed that they felt anxious or uncomfortable around same-sex attracted people or did not disagree that they felt this way, while 23% think it’s ok to say something they don’t like is “gay” and 38% wouldn’t be happy if a same-sex attracted person was in their friendship group.

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